If someone were to come up to you and sneer, "I don't write romance. I write a real love story involving real people grappling with real dilemmas*," is your response:
a) "Oh, so you do write romance, then?"
b) "Pretentious, much?"
c) "I assume this dismissal of an entire genre was reached through extensive primary research and authoritative secondary sources, or do you simply find unfounded, sweeping generalizations to be easier than actual cognition?"
It both angers and saddens me that romance - consistently one of the best selling genres - is still in this day and age consistently the object of ridicule - and by people who should know better.
[The "romance" genre] sucks all the oxygen out of the room. It sets up expectations and lays down rules of what "romance" should be and what great sex is like.*
That's your final answer?
You're saying romance readers can't differentiate between a romance novel, that is to say Fiction, and Real Life?
I'd be insulted, except now I'm wondering what the "rules" to "great sex" are than aren't actually involving of great sex.
I mean, are you saying that fictional great sex does not actually resemble real great sex? Because then I am .... confused. Isn't "great sex" by definition ... great?
I'm not seeing where the bad is.
It can't possibly be because great sex from a woman's point-of-view is less valid than the male's.
Because that might lead one to suspect the assumption that romance is read and written mostly by women is one reason the genre is devalued.
But that's just paranoid thinking, isn't it? Women's literary achievements aren't overlooked these days.**
But to return to the blog post that started this rant, lastly, there's this gem:
I don't do sex because I'm more interested in love -- and love takes place in the mind where it has to fight for its existence against all the other challenges presented by life.*
Some might say sex is one of those challenges, and as such needs to be addressed.
Some might say exploring the experience of love without a nod to sex is like exploring the Godiva store with your mouth taped shut.
Others might point out that if you're having sex without love, perhaps this is something you should discuss with your therapist.
Because, when you get right down to it, most criticism of the romance genre says a lot more about the critic than it does about the genre.
**Publishers Weekly’s list of top 10 best books of 2009 contains no female authors. Not one.